How Much Water Should You Drink Daily? You likely understand the importance of staying hydrated when temperatures soar outside. But staying hydrated is an everyday requirement – no matter the temperature outside. Unfortunately, many adults don’t get enough liquids as they age as they don’t sense thirst as keenly as younger individuals do, particularly if taking medications which could cause fluid loss such as diuretics. Drinking water is an excellent source of nutritionally beneficial minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphate. While most people get their daily needs from food sources, water containing these essential minerals can serve as a helpful supplement.
According to researchers at Arizona State University, accessing sufficient, safe, acceptable and financially accessible water for personal and domestic use is recognized by the United Nations as a fundamental human right. Without such resources, researchers believe that emotional distress and negative mental health outcomes may ensue.
How much water should you drink each day?
The four-to-six cup rule for water consumption is generally recommended for healthy individuals. It may be more challenging if you have certain health conditions like thyroid disease, kidney, liver, or heart issues; or are taking medications that cause water retention such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opiate pain medications and some antidepressants. What amount of water should you drink each day if you fit into this category? No single answer applies here; each individual’s water intake needs to be evaluated individually. Consult your doctor if unsure about what amount is right for you. Even healthy people’s water requirements can vary, especially if they’re sweating heavily due to exercise or being outside on a hot day. If you’re uncertain how much liquid should be consumed on these occasions, consult your doctor; as a general guideline healthy individuals should drink two to three cups per hour while sweating heavily.
In this article, we’ll look into 10 health advantages associated with drinking water.
1. Enhancing Physical Performance
Physical performance, from a medical perspective, objectively measures whole body function related to mobility. It takes into account not only muscle strength and power but inputs from many other organs and systems such as bones and balance as well as various cardiovascular and neurologic elements. Research has been done extensively on the effects of dehydration or hypohydration on physical performance and related responses in occupational, military, and sports settings. Results demonstrate that dehydration or hypohydration provokes functional changes in cardiovascular, metabolic, and central nervous systems which lead to impaired physical performance – manifested as reduced endurance, increased fatigue, altered thermoregulatory capability, diminished motivation levels, and higher perceived effort levels. Studies from the American College of Sports Medicine have demonstrated that dehydration, even with a loss of as little as 2% body mass, can lead to an adverse effect on physical performance. Another study conducted by researchers from the Department of Physiology at the Australian Institute of Sport revealed that low fluid intake among cyclists resulted in a relative performance impairment rate of 28.6%.
Even minor amounts of water loss can have an adverse effect on physical performance, so staying hydrated while engaging in any form of physical activity is essential for maintaining peak physical performance.
2. Increases Energy
Energy is the strength and vitality needed for sustained physical or mental activity. Energy in the human body is derived from dietary “fuel molecules”, such as carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. These fuel molecules and their nutrient constituents (glucose, fatty acids and amino acids) then undergo complex biochemical pathways to synthesize high-energy compounds like ATP which functions as the main energy carrier in all cells. Water plays an essential role in all metabolic and biochemical pathways involved in creating high-energy compounds which provide fuel to all cells of your body.
3. Enhances Brain Function
Water enhances brain functions like concentration and memory. Our brain is the master controller of all cognitive, motor, visual, breathing, heart rate and even hunger–essential life functions that cannot be outsourced. Water helps enhance these important cognitive processes! Adequate hydration is essential for optimal brain function. Studies have examined the effects of dehydration under different circumstances on cognitive performance and found that mild to moderate dehydration can alter important aspects such as concentration, alertness, memory, perceptual discrimination, arithmetic ability, visuomotor tracking and psychomotor skills. Thus it’s important to stay hydrated during hot climates or while engaging in vigorous exercise by drinking water; this helps ensure optimal brain health.
4. Treats Constipation
Drinking water can help combat constipation that occurs due to insufficient fluid intake, especially during diarrhea or fever which promote dehydration. Constipation typically presents as difficult or infrequent bowel movements, hard stool, or the feeling that your rectum is not completely empty after passing stool.
5. Effective Treatment for Kidney Stones
Urinary stones are mineral crystals (calcium, uric acid, struvite and cystine) found in the urinary system that can cause significant discomfort. Kidney stones originate in the kidneys and are the most common type. Kidney stones occur when waste materials in the blood crystallize and accumulate within the kidneys, creating a hard stone-like mass that may develop over time. Dehydration has been linked to this development; increased fluid intake is recommended for individuals at risk of uric acid kidney stones. Constipation can have many causes, but one of the most significant is dietary. Factors such as reduced physical activity and inadequate intake of fibers, carbohydrates, and fluids all play a role in creating constipation; these issues can be prevented with regular physical activity combined with increased dietary fiber and water ingestion – something even the World Gastroenterology Organization recommends as part of treatment for constipation.
Constipation can be caused by illnesses like diarrhea and fever, which dehydrate the body and thus increase constipation. This type of secondary constipation is particularly prevalent among the very young and elderly population; thus, it’s crucial for them to maintain adequate hydration levels to avoid constipation.
6. Aids Weight Loss
Drinking water can aid weight loss by increasing feelings of being full, increasing metabolism and substituting sugary drinks with water. Weight loss is defined as a decrease in total body weight caused by either voluntary or involuntary circumstances. Water consumption may aid weight loss by raising metabolism and burning more calories daily.
Water consumption for at least 30 minutes before meals has been linked to weight loss, likely due to its ability to increase feelings of fullness prior to eating. According to one study, dieters who drank 16.9 ounces (0.5 liters) of water before meals lost 44% more weight over 12 weeks than those who didn’t drink water beforehand.
7. Prevents Hangovers
Hangovers are the unpleasant consequences of excessive drinking and can include headaches, fatigue, thirst, dizziness, nausea or a loss of appetite. Hangovers can be prevented with these tips!
Hangover symptoms are typically due to alcohol-induced dehydration. Alcohol has a powerful diuretic effect, increasing urine production and leading to the loss of vital fluids and electrolytes for normal functioning. Although the best way to prevent a hangover is not drinking more than you know you can handle, drinking water also helps. According to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, they recommend that you drink at least two cups (16 oz) of water between each alcoholic drink and at least two cups (16 oz) before bedtime.
8. Prevents Dehydration
Dehydration refers to a rapid loss of body water and electrolytes at a faster rate than the body can replenish them. Signs and symptoms of dehydration can include thirst, lethargy, altered sensorium, decreased cognition, dry mucosa, decreased urine output, tachycardia, hypotension and shock. Dehydration can be caused by either increased fluid loss (vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating or burns), decreased fluid intake (pharyngitis or other debilitating illnesses) or both. To avoid dehydration, one should drink enough water daily as guided by their own sense of thirst.
9. Supplies Oxygen to Cells
Oxygen is essential for all living cells to promote cell growth and repair. Oxygen taken in by the lungs from the surrounding air is bound to red blood cells which are “dissolved” in plasma, the liquid component of blood that allows circulation. Plasma contains 90% water and acts as a carrier medium for this vital process which ensures oxygen and nutrients reach all cells in the body.
Plasma typically makes up 55% of our body’s total blood volume. Maintaining its volume requires a complex system involving the renal and neuroendocrine systems; usually all that’s required to keep our plasma healthy is adhering to recommended daily water intake requirements and letting our bodies do the rest.
10. Enhances Digestion
Digestion is the process by which insoluble dietary macronutrients such as fats, carbohydrates and proteins are mechanically and enzymatically broken down into micronutrients that can cross the intestinal epithelium and enter the bloodstream for use by the body. It plays a significant role in digestion. Digestion begins in the mouth with chewing and ends in the small intestine. As food travels through this digestive tract, it mixes with digestive fluids (saliva, stomach acid, pancreatic juice, bile acids) to break down large molecules into smaller ones that can be absorbed.
Water is essential for proper digestive functioning. It lubricates mucous membranes in the gastrointestinal tract, helps break down meals with gastric acid and enzymes, promotes gastric emptying, encourages intestinal motility, and assists with controlling bowel movements.